Helen Rufolo obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Helen Rufolo

June 8, 1919 - September 8, 2017

Obituary


HELEN RUFOLO: June 8, 1919-September 8, 2017

Helen Romanolo was born on June 8, 1919 to Rosalina (De Fazio) and Sylvester Romanolo in Staten Island, New York. Her parents were recent immigrants from Avellino in the Compana region of Italy to the US in search of a better life. Helen grew up on St. Pauls's Avenue with her brothers Paul, Charles, Joseph and Michael, and beloved sisters Celia and Mary. There was an extensive family network that also moved to SI. In later years the family moved to Van Duzer St in Tompkinsville. Helen...

HELEN RUFOLO: June 8, 1919-September 8, 2017

Helen Romanolo was born on June 8, 1919 to Rosalina (De Fazio) and Sylvester Romanolo in Staten Island, New York. Her parents were recent immigrants from Avellino in the Compana region of Italy to the US in search of a better life. Helen grew up on St. Pauls's Avenue with her brothers Paul, Charles, Joseph and Michael, and beloved sisters Celia and Mary. There was an extensive family network that also moved to SI. In later years the family moved to Van Duzer St in Tompkinsville. Helen graduated from Curtis HS in 1937, and a business school in Manhattan where she focused on book keeping and secretarial skills. After a job or two in NYC Helen secured employment with Vinira Clothing Manufacturing Company in Newark NJ, which specialized in the manufacture of ladies suits. She worked there for over 25 years trouble shooting front office crisis while attending to employees concerns and questions. Helen's pleasant personality and extensive knowledge made her an asset to the company.

Helen retired when the company was sold, which allowed her to work for her husband, Emil H. Rufolo, a Public Accountant, in West Brighton for several years. Soon after Emil Jr. would take over the family business. Unfortunately, after 41 years of marriage, Helen was widowed at age 68, and decided to return to the work she enjoyed so much. She took a job as a book keeper with Going Places Travel, and even took classes at SI Community College to learn the computer! Helen was good with 'figures'. Until recently, she could add up columns of numbers in her head without paper and pen.

Helen liked to stay busy and productive. Working was important to her, and when she wasn't working she was busy volunteering for various causes. It seemed that every organization she joined, she eventually would take on a leadership role. Her energy was infectious and appreciated by all. These included Parish Council for Scared Heart, Business and Professional Women of SI, Eucharist Minister and Lector for St. Charles. She participated in the local Bowling Leagues, and parish fundraising activities. If there was a fashion show, Helen was sure to be in it!! She loved clothes and fashion, and was very particular about her hair. For many years, on Fridays, after work and preparing dinner for her family, you could find Helen at the Beauty Salon for her weekly appointment. This was her rejuvenation and relaxation time!! When she moved to St Charles parish after her husband, Emil passed away in 1986, Helen became very active in additional groups in the church. She became a Lector and Eucharistic Minister, joined the St. Vincent De Paul Society, and Ladies of Charities. Through these associations she became involved in Project Hospitality, and the work they did for the SI community. Helen eventually joined the St Vincent Hospital Auxiliary, recently renamed the Richmond University Hospital Auxiliary, and held the position of President, and Treasurer for many years, among other Board positions. She was named their Volunteer of the Year in the 1990's

Family was also very important to Helen. In those days, dating was not encouraged without chaperones!! So she often went out in groups with her cousins Virginia or Jenny to avoid her father's strict rules. Helen met and married Emil, with whom she raised two children, Christine and Emil Jr. At first they lived in Tompkinsville in an apartment when Emil began his business as a Public Accountant. When their son, Emil was born in 1954, they decided to move to a house in West Brighton. Emil eventually opened an office for his practice. In later years, Helen and Emil traveled to Europe, the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, and a few times to California where their daughter, Christine resides. A trip of a life time was their visit to Emil's brother, Daniel, and wife, Aurora in Kenya, Africa. There she had the pleasure to go on two safaris!!

Helen was a great cook, and even better baker. We can remember when she made all those ravioli's early on Sunday mornings, while making the gravy or a delicious cake or pastry. No matter how well she knew how to cook or bake, she always followed a recipe. She said that was the secret to her success..always exact measurements!! She liked the challenge to cook something new and sometimes different, that husband Emil would not always appreciate. He liked hot dogs and sauerkraut!!

Today, some would consider Helen a super woman; she worked every day in an office, about 45 minutes away from home, shopped and cooked, cleaned up the kitchen, and then often would iron clothes while helping Emil and Christine sitting at the dining room table with their homework. Helen and Emil inherited their parent's desire for a better life for their children, teaching them the value of hard work, continuous self-improvement, good education, reaching out to help those less fortunate, and saving pennies.

Helen joined her son, Emil and daughter in law, Laurie (Fevelo), and their two sons, Emil J. and Daniel, for many family celebrations and vacations. She enjoyed participating in their school activities and music performances over the years. She was also loved by the Fevelo family and participated in every holiday and family event. This was a constant joy to her. The most recent birth of a great grandson, Luca, to Emil J. and wife, Laura, was a wish fulfilled. We are all grateful she lived to experience this event.

Helen would visit her daughter, Christine, frequently, and in later years would stay for months at a time in California. There she would enjoy her grandson, Marco, and participate in his school and social activities. They would take trips to Northern and Southern California to visit relatives, among other sightseeing adventures.

In April, 2015, Helen moved from her home into the Esplanade Senior Living Community where she made many new friends, enjoyed an active social life until November, 2016. Due to additional health concerns, son, Emil and daughter in-law, Laurie, decided to move her to Spring Meadows, an assisted living community in Summit, New Jersey until her passing Friday, September 8, 2017.

Helen lived to the age of 98 years old. She experienced many changes in our world, new developments, and saw how science impacts our daily lives. She was not a home body, and appreciated new adventures and meeting new people along with hard work and helping others.

Family and friends are invited to a Viewing: Monday, September 11, 2PM - 4PM, and 7PM-9PM at Casey Funeral Home, 350 Slosson Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314
Funeral: Tuesday, September 12 10:15 AM Mass at St Charles Church, 200 Penn Ave., Staten Island, NY 10306, followed by interment at Moravian Cemetery,2205 Richmond Road, Staten Island, NY 10306

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Helen Rufolo's name, can be made to:
Project Hospitality, 100 Park Ave., Staten Island, NY 10302 (718)448-1544 OR
Richmond University Hospital Auxiliary, 355 Bard Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10310